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Hip house
7Lís adventures on the wheels of steel
BY DAVID DAY

Turnover among DJs and producers being high, reputations in Boston are built on longevity. The current king of Boston hip-hop is 7L (George Andrinopoulos to the IRS), who has a wicked clean reputation for spinning everywhere, and spinning the lights out. Best known as half of the long-running indie duo 7L & Esoteric, heís finally getting much-deserved props for his DJ skills. Most recently, he killed it at a Halloween event in Southie: "We played [everything from] Tears for Fears to reggae to, like, Blur, and we all did it together. We had like eight crates." And last Sunday, he was a guest at the Office for DJ Brunoís "Utopia," a night known city-wide for its commitment to dancing and to house. "I can play old house stuff, definitely. In the early í90s, you had to play house. For the first two hours of a set you had to play house. Plus, Iím Greek, so I always had a lot of cousins and stuff that were shoving house down my throat and stuff."

With Eso, Andrinopoulos has toured the US (including a 33-day jaunt this summer), played to 10,000 in the Czech Republic ("We lived on French fries and water for three days, it was tough, real tough!"), and released three albums. "Grown Folks Party," his Thursday-night jumpoff at Central Squareís Enormous Room, has drawn across-the-board props, and this week heíll kick off an every-other-week Saturday-night residency there called JAMHOT. "Enormous Room has been kind of a blessing. I can play a Jay-Z record and like a David Bowie record, the crowd is a little more eclectic too." Joining him in the booth is Framingham native TALL MATT, a mixtape conspirator who works for local hip-hop distributor Traffic Enetertainment, and a mysterious fellow named BRAUN JOHNSON. Each time 7L mentions Braun by name, he giggles. "Heís lived in South Boston all his life. His father runs this place called City Lights up on Washington Street. Itís a cool place, they teach kids dance, he teaches dance there, and he shows kids how to produce. He can do it all, he can dance, he can DJ, and he can MC!"

Like many beat producers, 7L is reaching back for inspiration to the time when disco and electro merged to create hip-hop. "Tony Lee and Junior, Chain Reaction on P&P ó Iím definitely on the disco vibe, but not that Bee GeesĖtype shit. Even if I donít know what Iím doing, itís fun. The last couple of years, Iíve been trying to do something where Iím having fun. At my age, I just canít take myself seriously just playing Ja Rule records." On the heels of a new mixtape, 7Lís also putting the finishing touches on an instrumental album inspired by the hip-hop, house, and electro he loves to spin. "Back in the day, hip-hop was a medley of everything. Grandmaster Flashís [The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash] On the Wheels of Steel is the greatest thing Iíve ever heard. It has Chic, Blondie, and ĎApache.í People are programmed by MTV and radio now." Still, he has his limits: at one recent gig, he drew the line at the Black Eyed Peas smash "My Humps." "It was really that big of an issue," he recalls, laughing. "There were like different hordes of girls coming up and asking about it, but the Black Eyed Peas are one group I cannot play. Finally, Braun was like, ĎWe donít have it.í But I played the song they sampled [Sexual Harassmentís ĎI Need a Freakí]. I love that track."

Tall Matt also appears Friday at the Midway Caféís hip-hop night with My Manís and Them, Warlok, and local unsung heroes PORN THEATRE USHERS, who released a classic album called Taxachusetts last summer. Like their former label mate Edan, PTU get mad respect from overseas: British tastemakers Boomkat.com called their album "very, very highly recommended." . . . The studious KEITH FULLERTON WHITMAN, a/k/a Hrvatski, and the subject of a three-page spread in the new XLR8R, plays Wednesday at ZuZu with long-time collaborator and touring partner GREG DAVIS. Expect carefully manipulated sonic landscapes of guitars, electronics, and anything else these brains can throw into the mix.

David Day spins Thursdays at Middlesex Lounge and Fridays at Enormous Room | circuits@squar3.com.


Issue Date: November 11 - 17, 2005
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